World’s Finest Comics #157 (May, 1966)

This comic book features an “Imaginary Story”.  (And if your response to that phrase is “but aren’t they all imaginary?”, rest assured that famed British comics author Alan Moore agrees with you.)  “Imaginary Stories”, also known as “Imaginary Tales” or even (as in this very issue) “Imaginary Novels“, were a fixture of editor Mort Weisinger’s “Superman family” comics of the 1960s.  They allowed the creators to explore “what if?” scenarios in which Krypton never exploded, or Jimmy Olsen married Supergirl, or Superman was murdered by Lex Luthor (sounds like a bummer, I know, but it made for a classic story) — in other words, scenarios that wouldn’t or couldn’t fit into the “real” ongoing continuity of the comics.      Read More

Hawkman #13 (Apr.-May, 1966)

Hawkman was the fourth member of the Justice League of America on whose solo adventures I eventually decided to gamble 12 cents, his having been preceded by Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and the Flash.  (Wonder Woman, the Atom, and Aquaman would eventually follow, though unfortunately Green Arrow had already lost his supporting slot in World’s Finest by this time, and I wouldn’t get around to checking out House of Mystery until well after its doors had shut on the Martian Manhunter.)  Most of what I knew about the Winged Wonder came from Justice League of America #41, where I’d learned that both Hawkman and his wife, the similarly attired and identically powered (but perhaps slightly smarter) Hawkgirl, were alien police officers from the planet Thanagar, operating undercover on Earth for reasons I didn’t quite understand yet. Read More

Justice League of America #41 (December, 1965)

Before re-reading this comic in preparation for this blog post — probably the first time I’d cracked its cover in at least three decades — I had been remembering it as a more typical example of the JLA stories of the period than the first one that I’d bought and read, the philosophical and essentially villain-less “The Indestructible Creatures of Nightmare Island!” in JLA #40.  As it turns out, however, this issue has a good bit more in common with its immediate predecessor than I’d previously recalled.  Like in that story, the main action here turns upon a character manipulating people’s attitudes and behaviors by artificial means.  However, in “The Key-Master of the World!” (uncredited, but produced by the book’s regular creative team of Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, and Bernard Sachs, according to the Grand Comics Database), the manipulation is limited only to the titular heroes rather than affecting the whole world, and the perpetrator’s intent is malicious, rather than benign.  Read More

Green Lantern #40 (October, 1965)

According to the Grand Comics Database, this comic book was published exactly 50 years ago today, on August 26, 1965.  The fact that it came out pretty late in the month may be significant, as it seems very likely to me that I bought it only after buying Justice League of America #40, which doesn’t have a specific date of release given in the GCD, but does have a later cover date of November, 1965.  That’s because I didn’t have a clue who Green Lantern was before I started buying comics, and it seems logical that I took a chance on the Emerald Crusader’s solo book only after first encountering him as a member of the JLA.  This book could well have been on the stands for a week or two after JLA #40’s release.  But since I don’t really know if any of that is actually true, I’m going to go ahead and honor the cover dates, and post about GL #40 ahead of the Justice League book.  Read More

Detective Comics #344 (October, 1965)

I think that this was the second comic book I bought, but I’m not sure.  It has the same cover date as Superman #180, but so does another comic I bought around the same time.  I’m sure Superman #180 was the very first, but my memory of the specific sequence of acquisitions is a little dim after that.  I feel like Batman followed right after Superman, however, and it also seems like the most appropriate choice — so that’s what I’m going with here.

My memory is also trying to tell me that I was previously aware of Batman from commercials for his upcoming live-action series (maybe even one featuring the Batusi?), but that seems pretty unlikely.  The premiere of ABC’s “Batman” was still 5 months away, and I don’t believe that networks aired promos that far in advance in those days — but I could be wrong.  Assuming there hadn’t been any such commercials, however, I must have had only a vague idea of who Batman was and what he was all about.  Only a year later, Batman would be everywhere — toys, records, books, trading cards, other novelties, a movie — but in the summer of ’65 there were only the comics.  Read More